Despite all the chaos of Shed and Cake and work and other work and boyfriend, I went to London and saw theatre. ‘The Drowned Man’ by Punchdrunk to be precise. It’s hard to explain what Punchdrunk is… here’s something I cut and copied from their website: “the company has pioneered a game changing form of immersive theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company’s infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences.” This is accurate but does not do them justice.
It took me a while to get into because I was terrified. No two ways about it. We walked down a dark corridor into a lift; some were let out on one level and the rest on another. But there comes a point when you realise that they are trying to tell you a story rather than scare you like the dicks at Thorpe Park and London Dungeons. After that epiphany, we began to explore the world of ‘The Drowned Man’. Set in the world of Temple Pictures where the Hollywood studio system meets a forgotten hinterland, we are invited to watch the two worlds collide.
There’s so many ways to explore the world, the ‘event’ is different for each individual. You may choose to explore the rooms and floors (that’s right, floors) methodically, you may feel compelled to follow someone. I did a bit of both. I don’t want to reveal too much but I will say I was very very impressed. The attention to detail was ridiculous; you could pick up and read letters, sit on the furniture and nothing was out of bounds. Sensory it was too, however, after two and a half hours of dark rooms and smoky haze, I had a headache. Despite that, it was inspirational, a new way of seeing theatre that definitely will be lovingly borrowed. Sorry for the poor review, but there are no words to describe what Punchdrunk have proven they capable of and I’ll over the place at the moment … just see it while you can.